I am an obese women looking to lose weight?
Don’t let asthma stop you from getting started on a fitness routine! Often at my live-in fitness weight loss camp, guests come with asthmatic conditions. In fact, nearly three million Canadians suffer from some form of asthma, a condition where your lungs airways tighten up and it becomes really challenging to breathe. It can be quite frightening to have these attacks when you’re in the middle of a workout – especially if they only come about once in a while and you don’t have your inhaler with you! There’s a difference between being out of breath from an elevated heart rate, and being “breathless” because your body can’t find oxygen. It’s enough to make many people drop out of exercise programs!
The good news is, smart exercise may actually help asthmatics to be better able to cope with this frustrating condition. Doctors say that the causes of having an asthma attack vary from person to person, but the process stays the same. Simply put, the muscles surrounding your airways narrow and go into spasm. This narrowing makes it difficult to breathe and it can take up to an hour to resolve if left untreated. Inhaling drugs at this point is usually the quickest, most comfortable to treat the panting and wheezing because they are designed to relax the bronchial muscles and reduce inflammation in the airways.
Help your asthma with the following tips
· Checking air quality each day, and being knowledgeable about how to handle different pollutants and pollens
· Covering your nose and throat in cold weather… your airways react better with limited cold air
· Drink lots of water – not just after you use your inhaler, but also throughout the day to keep your mucus levels healthy
· Get food smart about what triggers your attacks. Certain foods can cause problems, such as bananas, shrimp, peanuts and celery.
· Use only the recommended dosage of medicine.
Most people find that working out really helps their asthma. Strengthening your lungs can have definite benefits in more way than just improved fitness – and it makes your breathing more efficient. Safely combining exercise and asthma starts with a trip to your family doctor. They will assess how your body reacts to exercise, and identify what needs to be done should certain situations arise. Whenever I have a client with asthma, I set them up with individualized workouts to help them breathe easy (so they can focus on the workout).This might include specific breathing exercises to keep hyperventilation under control, avoiding certain outdoor triggers such as pollution or cold, using the inhaler before we set off on our workout, exercising in short bursts instead of more intensive longer workouts.
Swimming is a great sport for asthmatics as it gets your heart rate pumping without the intensity on your lungs. There are lots of awesome programs for swimmers – call your local recreation centre and see if they have a Masters class suitable for your level.
With a little preparation and research, you can enjoy breathing easy…..one of the simple joys of life. Good luck!
- (C) Cat Smiley, 2012